Thousands continue to die every year from all forms of cancer but PNG still lacks any proper management and treatment facilities.
February 03rd is World Cancer day. A day set aside to remember those who succumbed to cancer as well as remind those alive that their actions and attitude will determine their health in 10 years time.
Being diagnosed with cancer is often a long process that requires months for biopsy results to come back for recommended treatment.
900 cases were reported in 2005 and 2000 cases were recorded in 2012 in Port Moresby alone.
Cervical Cancer is by far the biggest cancer killer of women, claiming 3,000 lives every year followed by Breast cancer.
Specialist Dr Peter Olali says there are only two cancer treatment specialists in the country.
He says Chemotherapy and full radiation treatment have one specialist each, both based in Lae while those admitted at the Cancer ward in PomGen die waiting to see a doctor.
“We don’t have any local medical Oncologist in the country for Chemotherapy. Only one doctor has been identified for training at Lae’s, Angau Memorial,” he says.
Pom Gen currently has a Chinese Oncologist practicing whom he assists but communication is a barrier as the Oncologist does not speak fluent English.
“For full radiation treatment, the doctor in Lae is still undergoing training. That’s four years of Radiation Oncology training,” says Olali.
He says it takes eight to ten years for a doctor to be trained for Masters and later Radiation Oncology for full radiation treatment and the government must plan ahead.
“Government needs to do some serious planning in this area and not do things on an adhoc basis,” he says.
He says all doctors can perform surgery to remove cancer tumors but Chemotherapy and Full Radiation treatment is the challenge.
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